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AIR QUALITY REGULATION IN CALIFORNIA JANUARY 2007 CASE STUDY OF COMMUNITY LAWSUITS. Melissa Lin Perrella Natural Resources Defense Council Southern California Air Program. Air Pollution from Goods Movement Activities:.

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air quality regulation in california january 2007 case study of community lawsuits

AIR QUALITY REGULATION IN CALIFORNIA JANUARY 2007CASE STUDY OF COMMUNITY LAWSUITS

Melissa Lin Perrella

Natural Resources Defense Council

Southern California Air Program

air pollution from goods movement activities
Air Pollution from Goods Movement Activities:
  • 2400 premature deaths (more than 6 a day) and 1 million school absences every year.
  • In 2004, CARB determined that over 155,000 people living in the vicinity of the Roseville Rail Yard in Northern California had an elevated cancer risk due to rail operations.
  • By 2020, state will incur $200 billion in health impacts.
  • For every $1 invested in reducing goods movement pollution, the state receives $3-$8 in benefits from health impacts avoided

California Air Resources Board Proposed Emission Reduction Plan for Ports and Goods Movement in California (March 21, 2006)

estimated risk of cancer from air toxics all emission sources
Estimated Risk of Cancer from Air Toxics: All Emission Sources

Cancers per million

Source: SCAQMD, Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study II, March 2000

estimated risk of cancer from airborne toxics excluding diesel
Estimated Risk of Cancer from Airborne Toxics: Excluding Diesel

Cancers per million

Source: SCAQMD, Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study II, March 2000

low lung function due to air pollution usc keck school of medicine

Long Beach among worst

Low Lung Function due to Air PollutionUSC, Keck School of Medicine
  • Examined 1,800 So. CA children in 12 communities over 10 yrs
  • Significant lung function loss due to slowed lung growth and high asthmatic rates
  • Study links both PM and NO2 emissions to port communities
cancer cluster study usc school of medicine professor t m mack
Cancer Cluster StudyUSC, School of Medicine, Professor T. M. Mack
  • Examined throat and lung cancer clusters throughout LA county over 25 year period
  • Both LA and LB port communities identified having high cancer rates
massive growth
Massive Growth
  • 2000 – 2004: the number of containers measured as twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) increased by 40% at POLA & POLB.
  • 1990 – 2004: TEUs doubled at the Port of Oakland.
  • Freight volumes expected to double or triple in the Los Angeles region over the next two decades.

California Air Resources Board Proposed Emission Reduction Plan, at 17-18 (March 2006).

china shipping background
China Shipping - Background
  • In 2001, POLA granted a permit and lease to China Shipping to construct a massive 134 to 174 acre container terminal complex.
  • No site-specific environmental review prepared as required under CEQA, nor were measures adopted to protect the environment or nearby residents.
  • NRDC, along with other environmental and community goups sued POLA over its failure to comply with CEQA.
why we sued
Why We Sued
  • Air pollution, human health, and other impacts from the project were not studied or mitigated.
    • Over one millionTEUs projected to pour into and out of this project site every year, resulting in:
    • Over one hundred additional vessel calls
    • Over one million diesel truck trips
the outcome
The Outcome
  • 2002: after a year and a half of litigation, the court of appeal issued an injunction halting all construction and operation of the terminal until the Port performed a site specific EIR.
  • “The EIR is intended to furnish both the roadmap and the environmental price tag for a project, so that the decision maker and the public both know, before the journey begins how much they—and the environment—will have to give up in order to take that journey.”

NRDC v. City of Los Angeles, 103 Cal. App. 4th 268 (2002)

why settle
Why Settle?
  • Even though we won, we decided to settle with the Port for two reasons:

(1) Recognition that we could not keep the terminal shut down for the long run.

(2) To prove that expansion can be done in a green way.

  • We entered into a groundbreaking settlement with the Port that allowed the first Phase of the terminal to go forward on a limited basis in exchange for a model green terminal.
the settlement agreement
The Settlement Agreement
  • 70% of ships will plug-in to electric power while at berth.
  • All yard tractors will run on natural gas or propane.
  • All other yard equipment (e.g., top picks) will have diesel oxidation catalysts and use emulsified diesel fuel.
  • Port pays $10M to Gateway Cities Program to fund replacement of old trucks with newer cleaner ones.
  • Port spends $40M on additional air quality and aesthetic mitigation.
benefits of settlement
Benefits of Settlement

For Plaintiffs, the settlement helped prove:

  • It is feasible to implement stringent green measures, such as cold ironing, at commercial container terminals;
  • Ports can require shipping companies to adopt green measures through their leases and contracts (China Shipping agreed by contract to implement these measures).

For thePort, the settlement enabled them to:

  • Move forward with the construction and operation of the first phase of the terminal.
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • The Port spent tens of millions of dollars to settle the case, attorney fees and court costs, as well as damages to China Shipping for delaying its use of the terminal.
  • This money would have been better spent on measures to protect the community.
what is the better approach
What is the Better Approach?
  • Require stringent mitigation measures in every new and renegotiated lease as part of the CEQA process that ensures full public participation.
  • Provide opportunities for public comment and ensure such comments are taken seriously and incorporated into the final project.
  • If a Port does this right, it will be able to expand, while reducing health risks and other impacts to neighboring communities.
  • It will also benefit from good relations with its neighbors, instead of the contentious relations that have plagued ports for years.